Soundpieces: Da Antidote!

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The Lootpack's debut album, Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, ushered in a string of excellent releases on Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw label, and helped serve notice that the West Coast underground scene was becoming one of tremendous creative vitality. Much of the album's success is due to fantastic production by Madlib, who takes his place as one of the West Coast's most imaginative trackmasters, underground or otherwise. His style is subtly otherworldly, drawing bits and pieces from countless obscure sources; every listen reveals new, unexpected sounds layered into the mix. With 24 tracks over the course of a full CD, Soundpieces does feel a bit excessive, but most of the tracks are thankfully focused and concise, and a few clock in at around a minute or less. The exception is the multi-sectioned suite "Episodes," an impressive b-boy bouillabaisse that showcases Madlib's fragmented genius. The rapping, by Madlib and Wildchild plus a guest roster of West Coast scenesters, is consistently high-quality, and the album is studded with great singles: "Questions," "Whenimondamic," the eerie-sounding "The Anthem," and "Weededed," the latter an attack on MCs who rely on marijuana to enhance their rhymes (though not on the drug itself). Among the many guests, Dilated Peoples and Lootpack mentors Tha Alkaholiks shine brightest on "Long Awaited" and "Likwit Fusion," respectively. The Lootpack are vulnerable to the same criticism that's been leveled at Dilated Peoples, namely that in returning to hip-hop's basics, they've substantially limited their lyrical content by focusing almost entirely on battle rhymes. They're clever and well-crafted battle rhymes, to be sure, and the group's microphone technique is impressive, but in 1999, it was hard not to want them to pay attention to something besides wack MCs. That's especially true given the imagination of Madlib's subsequent projects (Quasimoto in particular), not to mention his production here. Still, that isn't enough to keep Soundpieces: Da Antidote! from being a resounding success.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1:34 Spotify
2 3:54 Spotify
3 4:45 Spotify
4 0:52 Spotify
5 2:46 Spotify
6 3:26 Spotify
7 3:26 Spotify
8 2:55 Spotify
9 2:29 Spotify
10 3:07 Spotify
1:10 Spotify
12 3:14 Spotify
13 2:57 Spotify
feat: Quasimoto
4:44 Spotify
15 4:47 Spotify
16 3:13 Spotify
feat: Godz Gift
3:43 Spotify
18 0:36 Spotify
19 3:15 Spotify
feat: Quasimoto
1:06 Spotify
feat: Declaime
3:35 Spotify
22 3:24 Spotify
8:44 Spotify
0:17 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick